Letters to Ellie: SIX.

Dear Ellie Jo,

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This morning, before the sun came up, before my alarm clock went off, before I heard birds chirping, we woke up. I heard you in your room and I went to get you. I brought you back to my room and fed and snuggled you. I watched the clock change from 6:16 to 6:17, and just like that you turned six months old.

It didn’t really happen that quickly, of course. It happened slow. Minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, since the day you were born that time has been going away. I know where it went. But it’s gone just the same. It went to innumerable couch cuddles and late mornings in bed. It went to mini-road trips to visit your grandparents, to doctor’s appointments, to nap-filled days, to your first time at church, to long work days. It went to feedings and diapers and baths.  I look back on the last six months, Ellie, and my time it is full of you. It is full of learning and growing–not just for you but for me.  You are the baby who made me a momma, and we’ve spent the last six months figuring out what that means.

Six months ago, when we met you, I was struck by your beauty. I remember in those early days wanting to comment on something other than your looks, but I didn’t know you yet. What an incredible feeling it is–to love someone so much even though you know them so little.  Every day as you grow, I learn about you. One of my favorite things to do now is to compliment your other qualities.

Eliana Joanne, you are smart, perseverant, persistent, thoughtful, and joyful.  You love fiercely already.  You like to figure things out, you love to smile, and you are stubborn. How I pray the Lord gives us gentle hands to help shape that part of you without breaking it.

IMG_3854Sweet baby girl, I pray for you, that your tiny heart will know the love of the father real and strong and soon, that your heart will be tender towards that love and towards his people, and that the Lord might bless you with the gift of motherhood one day.  And if he does, sweet girl, prepare yourself. Because being a momma has already been the most spiritually formative thing I have ever experienced.  I didn’t know what it was to trust until the Lord began teaching me to trust him with you.  And I pray for us, Ellie, that trusting in Jesus will be the hallmark of our home. Because even after I spend 3 hours looking for a safe car seat for you, I remember that Jesus is the only one who can really guarantee your safety. And I remember that your safety might not look like I want it to. And I remember that being a clench-fisted momma won’t teach you to have faith. That white-knuckled fear doesn’t teach you how to trust.  And I sigh a little bit and I pray, Ellie Jo, while you’re there on the floor, trying to figure out how to crawl. That you will keep on growing and I will keep on trusting.

Love,

Momma

Favorite Things Friday: Baby Equipment

When I was pregnant, I spent a little bit of time HOURS AND HOURS researching baby equipment and adding it to my registry. All that work paid off– I have been extremely happy with basically all of the baby equipment we have. Since it seems like every month or so we find out another one of our friends is expecting a baby, I thought I would dedicate this Favorite Things Friday to baby equipment. Here we go:

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Maxi Cosi Mico Infant Seat: I don’t know about you, but I am just not a fan of those Graco travel systems. They are huge and they are ugly. After spending a long time trying to find a pattern that didn’t make me want to throw up, I gave up and looked elsewhere, and I’m so glad I did! This car seat/stroller combo is amazing! The Mico is a very safe car seat  AND it was the lightest car seat at the store– yes, I picked them all up, you can ask my mom. Plus, they come in a huge variety of colors.

Maxi Cosi Mila Stroller: The Mila cannot be used with a baby under 6 months old, but (this is the great part) the seat comes off the frame, and the frame can be used with the car seat. We have been incredibly happy with this product. The lower basket is big enough for the diaper bag, it folds up in a snap, and doesn’t take up much room at all. It also comes with a weather cover, although why you’d take your kid out for a walk in inclement weather is beyond me.

Ickady Bag Diaper Bag: This one is from Etsy and it might be my favorite piece of baby equipment. Again, I’m not sure why manufacturers of diaper bags think that all moms like to carry ugly plastic bags with obnoxious patterns on them, but I just wasn’t feeling it. This diaper bag is the perfect mix of style and function: it is sturdy, roomy, and has a nice adjustable strap and shorter handles. It has ample pockets for organization and it’s very well made. I highly recommend this shop for diaper bags, purses, or overnight bags.

Halo Sleep Sack: We got one of these for free at the hospital, and it’s AMAZING. I recommend getting at least 2 in case midnight projectile vomit strikes. They come in fleece and cotton, and the velcro swaddle wings are super helpful if you’re swaddle challenged, like I am.

Medela Harmony: Since I stay home with Ellie, I decided to opt-out of the $300 breast pump and got this one instead. If you stay at home and plan to pump once per day or less, I highly recommend it. It’s efficient and cheap, and Medela customer service is great.

Boon System: This cute little guy is great for drying bottles and pump parts and it’s cute to boot. Additionally, it’s cheaper than you would expect!